I have had a lot of questions come through while I spent the last two weeks in Paris. Posting them here seemed like the easiest way for reference. If you have a question that I didn’t cover, feel free to comment below and I will do my best to answer it.
What is my favorite place in Paris?
This is a tough question as I have a few favorite spots. I found myself gravitating towards Place des Vosges a lot this trip. I love this park and the people watching is great. I have seen Place des Vosges covered in snow too which was a magical moment. I also love walking along the Seine in between the Right Bank and île St Louis. This is one of my favorite spots to watch the sunset. Palais Royal and Montmartre are favorite spots too. I guess I have a few :)
Do I live alone?
I live alone in downtown Chicago. You can see a look inside my apartment here.
Looking to go for a month next year. Any saving tips for the budget? Rental versus hotel?
I think going for a month is a great opportunity to experience Paris as a local. If you rent an Airbnb it is almost the same cost to go for two weeks vs a month. If you have the time to do it, I highly recommend it. Renting a hotel for that long would get extremely expensive and you wouldn’t have the same experience. Plan ahead as much as possible and try to negotiate with the hosts on Airbnb if you can rent for a month to get a discounted rate.
How often do I go back and forth between and how long do I stay in Paris?
I have been for as long as three months in Paris at a time without a Visa. I typically go every Spring and every Fall. This year I visited in January, April, and October. I am a full time photographer so I am always trying to get new photographs to add to the Print Shop.
The best address for afternoon tea?
The Palace Hotels are great for this if you want something fancy. I really enjoyed The Bristol and I had enough food for leftovers for days afterwards. The Ritz offers a great one as well. There is a new Bontemps Tea Room on Rue de Bretagne that opened this past week. It was 15 euros for tea and a cake or 4 sablés. It was plenty of food and the inside is adorable as is the outside courtyard. Once this place is a little more known it will gain popularity. For now, the courtyard was pretty quiet for a Sunday afternoon. I would book ahead if possible.
How was your “everyday” French conversation en Française?
I did ok! I wish I gave myself more opportunities to speak French during this last trip. My meetings were in English and I spent a lot of time walking the streets solo. I did practice a lot at restaurants and the boulangeries. When I did speak French to the Parisians, I was complemented on the simplest conversation. It felt really good and they made it less intimidating to practice.
Over the last few years, I have heard English more and more in Paris so it isn’t uncommon. They will want to practice their English just as much as you practice your French. There were some times where I would speak in French, and the reply would be in English but I just kept practicing.
Why do you stay so many different places during your time in Paris?
This is a great question and a common one. It actually made me laugh out loud because I don’t think about it too much. I have come to think of it as my “normal.” In years past, I would rent an apartment for months or weeks at a time. They were much easier to find before the city cracked down on the apartment rentals in Paris. I had a great company I rented from multiple times last year and they were shut down by the city. I haven’t had the best luck with Airbnb personally in the last year. I have a specific aesthetic I am looking for because I also want to use the space for photographs.
I have had a great working relationship was some amazing hotels in Paris for the last few years. I create content for the hotels for their social media and website. I get to stay in some beautiful hotels and I think of it as a great research opportunity for the blog. As a photographer, I will jump at the chance for a great view of the Eiffel Tower or a Parisian balcony.
If I wasn’t traveling solo, I can see this to be a huge inconvenience to anyone else. When I was a kid, I wanted to own my own hotel. While most kids were playing doctor and teacher, I was dreaming up a luxury hotel and drawing pictures of the lobby. It didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would, but I think it is better this way.
I’ve never been to Paris, but when I do visit… Should I do Airbnb or Hotel?
I think a hotel is a great way to start in Paris. You can explore the city and see your favorite areas. Spend your next visit as a local and rent an apartment and live like a local.
When is the best time of year to go for great weather and fewer tourists?
I have always loved October. The weather can be mild and there are less tourists. This past trip was busier than normal so I am not sure it will stay this way. I really enjoy January in Paris. I know it sounds odd and it is colder than most people would prefer but the city is mainly locals and you can get a feel for the city.
Question about safety: I will traveling there for 3 months by myself, how safe is it to walk alone at night?
I typically travel to Paris alone so I know this is an important question. When I first traveled to Paris there were certain parts I wouldn’t visit because I heard they weren’t “safe." Like any big city, make sure you are aware of your belongings. I wrote a blog post about solo travel for females in Paris and it is my most popular post to date.
I walk around at night all the time and feel completely safe. People ride the metro late so you won’t find yourself alone at 10/11 pm. Just make sure there are people around and out when you are walking home. If you find yourself on an empty street late at night, find an open café and call an uber. It is better to be safe for 10 euros than risk it!
My mother and I are doing a birthday trip to Paris in the Summer, do you have any suggestions on things to do?
If my Mom or Aunt came to Paris, I would take them for a cooking class at La Cuisine Paris. They have so many options and I have always had so much fun with them. They have market classes, baking and cooking classes to choose from. I highly recommend booking well in advance as things book up quickly in the Summer.